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Tuesday Book Review: “Love Is a Mix Tape,” “Live Through This” and “The Passion of the Hausfrau”

June 9th, 2009

me, on the phone with Hockey God a little bit ago: “Do you remember that time I was so sick on the plane flying into Belgium? And I couldn’t stop throwing up and wouldn’t leave the bathroom? And they almost couldn’t land the plane cuz I wouldn’t come out of the bathroom? That’s how sick I am, right now. Only without the throwing up.”

Hockey God, in perky Belgian accent: “Perhaps you are pregnant?” (Some of you may recall that that’s how we found out we were expecting our first baby — a perky, blonde Belgian stewardess told us. Also, the skinny-redheaded guy in that story? He’s now our brother-in-law. Ain’t love grand?)

And no, I’m not pregnant. I’m menopausal. Which is the same thing, just about, with the morning sickness, the mood swings, the weight losses and gains. Only it doesn’t end with sixty-five hours of labor and an unplanned (and 2 and a half years later, planned) c-section. Oh, no. It ends with sweet freedom from cramps and random pregnancies. Yes.

So, feeling a bit queasy and hormonal, I read these three great books, yesterday and today, but now I’m too sick to write real reviews. Suffice it to say — all three are fantastic. (When the hell do I get through three books in two days? That proves how excellent they are.) So check ’em out, you’ll like ’em. “Love Is a Mix Tape” is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read, written by rock critic Rob Sheffield for his late wife, Renee. He went through her mix tapes, his mix tapes, their mix tapes, and, with the help of their favorite music, wrote a love letter.

On watching an En Vogue video with his wife (where the band shimmies wearing foxy red dresses and his wife informs him, “They’re not wearing underwear”):

“There’s also a scene in the video where one of the guys in the audience slips his wedding ring off his finger and hides it in his pocket. Renee hated that scene, but I loved it because it reminded me that it was time to do the dishes. Whenever I did dishes, I had to slip off my wedding ring and put it on the microwave so it wouldn’t go down the drain. So, I think this is the perfect pop song — it reminds me of not wearing underwear, and it also reminds me of the dishes. What more could you want?”

It made me stay up til 1 a.m., this book, and then I had to have big nooky with my husband. I, too, ask: What more could you want from a book? (I think it was also cuz Sheffield quoted Bratmobile, which his wife liked to listen to while she wrote: “If you be my bride, we can kiss and ride / We can have real fun, we can fuck and run.”)

And for a very different kind of love letter… “Live Through This” is mother Debra Gwartney’s heartbreak memoir about her runaway daughters. It is a harrowing book, and it’s not truly heartbreak, because everyone is okay now. Even though I knew everything would end okay, it still flipped me out. Because, you know. I have a girl. And a boy. Let’s not be judging each other as parents, okay? Because you never know the whole story unless someone wants to share it with you. Thanks and love to Ms. Gwartney and her daughters for their fearlessness and compassion in sharing their story.

“The Passion of the Hausfrau” is (get this) a graphic novel by a mom, for women (and men will like it, too, I guarantee it. Also my 9-year-old just picked it up and looked through it, intrigued. A first, that she’s interested in one of my “mom” books). And by “graphic novel” I don’t mean “Wifey” or “Princess Daisy.” What motivated her? A jerk-o football player (biiiiiiig NFL star, BFD) from her hometown who “wrote” his memoir with the help of a ghostwriter and a life coach. Her mom gave her a copy of the “memoir” for her 39th birthday. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Well, two can play at that game, and Ms. Nicole Chaison doesn’t need the extra help, thank you. She wrote and illustrated it all by herself and it is spectacular.

Reading this week:


  1. zipdodah says

    “Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause. With female menopause you gain weight and get hot flashes. Male menopause – you get to date young girls and drive motorcycles.”
    (The updated page is very nice!)

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  2. LIB says

    Maybe it’s a ‘change-of-life baby”. j/k

    I’m digging the new look WM & HG.

    I spoke with Bethie last night. I passed on your felicitations. She sounds like she’s doing as well as can be expected. She begins her journey at 1pm today and will be reunited with Donn & kids tomorrow.

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Zip, I’m trading in the mini-van, I’ve decided.

    Lib, hahaha and thank you. BETH WE LOVE YOU.

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  4. Nan says

    Oh, glad to get news of Elizabeth… It’s a small bloggy world! Wacky Mommy, I say get a ferrari and a pool boy. Grip the bull by the horns! And if you give me several hours, I am trying to give you an award over at my place. Those links, they make me craaaayzeeee!

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  5. Debbie Davis says

    Hi, I came over from Nan’s blog to say congratulations on the award! enJOY your day!

    June 11th, 2009 | #

  6. The Other Laura says

    Whew! I’m happy that someone else sees the similarities between menopausal hormone hoo ha and pregnancy. I have mornings where I feel like I’m swimming through nausea again.

    And Love is a Mix Tape has been on my amazon wish list for YEARS! I am going to try and get it from the library.


    June 11th, 2009 | #

  7. Wacky Mommy says

    Nan, woot!

    Debbie, hey. Your blog is cute and funny — I just checked it out.

    TOL, can I get a witness?

    June 11th, 2009 | #

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